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The warming up is a preparation for physical exertion or a performance by exercising or practising gently beforehand.
Warming up is performed before a performance or practice. Athletes, singers, actors and others warm up before stressing their muscles. It prepares the muscles for vigorous actions. It prevents muscle cramps and injury due to over exertion.
A warm up generally consists of a gradual increase in intensity in physical activity (a "pulse raiser"), joint mobility exercise, and stretching, followed by the activity. For example, before running or playing an intensive sport, athletes might slowly jog to warm their muscles and increase their heart rate. It is important that warm ups be specific to the activity, so that the muscles to be used are activated. The risks and benefits of combining stretching with warming up are disputable, although it is generally believed that warming up prepares the athlete both mentally and physically. In a meta-study of 32 high quality studies, about four-fifths of the studies showed improvements in performance.
A comprehensive warm-up program did not significantly decrease injuries in football compared to a control group.
In baseball, warm up swings using a standard weight bat are effective in increasing batting speed. 
Stretching is part of some warm up routines, although a study in 2013 indicates that it weakens muscles in that situation. There are 3 types of stretches: ballistic stretching, dynamic, and static stretching:
- Ballistic Stretches involve bouncing or jerking. It is purported to help extend limbs during exercise, promoting agility and flexibility. However, this type of stretching may also cause injury and is not generally recommended.
- Static Stretches involve flexing the muscles. This may help prevent injury and permit greater flexibility and agility. Note that static stretching for too long may weaken the muscles.
- Dynamic Stretching involves moving the body part in the desired way until reaching the full range of motion, to improve performance.
Warming up in other countries
In Germany, Switzerland and Austria they use this noun in a second context: psychologists and similar professionals are working with "warming ups" in therapeutical or learning sessions before starting or after a break; those warming ups are various interaction games, role playing, moving in the class room and so on.
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- "How to work out at the gym: workout tips for beginners". Helsify.
- Soligard T, Myklebust G, Steffen K, et al. (2008). "Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomised controlled trial". BMJ. 337: a2469. doi:10.1136/bmj.a2469. PMC 2600961. PMID 19066253.
- McCrary, J Matt (February 2015). "A systematic review of the effects of upper body warm-up on performance and injury". BMJ.
- "Stretching before workout may weaken muscles, impair athletes: studies | Health | Life | National Post". Life.nationalpost.com. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- NY Times
- Rössler, Roland; Junge, Astrid; Bizzini, Mario; Verhagen, Evert; Chomiak, Jiri; aus der Fünten, Karen; Meyer, Tim; Dvorak, Jiri; Lichtenstein, Eric; Beaudouin, Florian; Faude, Oliver (22 December 2017). "A Multinational Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial to Assess the Efficacy of '11+ Kids': A Warm-Up Programme to Prevent Injuries in Children's Football". Sports Medicine. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0834-8. PMC 5948238.